Paraskevidekatriaphobia - CAEF Bulletin November 13, 2020

It’s Friday, the 13th of November, so now I have your attention!


(Actually, this is coming to you late, but I didn’t want to waste this great word.)


Why are people superstitious about the potential for bad luck on a Friday that falls on the 13th of the month? I have always wondered so am sharing a few findings with you, and invite you to “google” for yourself.


Paraskevidekoariaphobia is what is “apparently a motivated reasoning,” that is, because something bad may have happened on the 13th people came to associate it with bad things happening.


The beginning might be from the Christian liturgy that has Jesus sitting at the Last Supper with 12 disciples and being crucified the next day, a Friday. Here are a few other associations: Eve gave Adam the fateful apple on a Friday and Cain killed his brother Abel on a Friday.

Hate Should Not be Cultivated


We have been bombarded for months with media sightings of neo-Nazi, white supremacist, anti-immigrant marchers who have all been portrayed as thugs, murderers, ignoramuses, blowhards, maniacs, Jew haters, and racists. Maybe some of the folks are this and more, but what is missing in all the diatribe are the sightings of the Leftist mobs of protesters who have been burning and looting businesses and homes, threatening conservatives, putting on black hoods and beating cops and opposition protesters.


While this news is all coming from the US, it fills the screens and airways in Canada. It is obviously important to know there are ever present dangers in the democratic society to the south of Canada, but here is the crux of the problem. The news we are getting is almost entirely one sided, focused on the dangers of right wing extremism, ignoring left wing extremism and the actual damage they have wrecked on society already. What is really obnoxious is the accusation that if one disagrees with the so-called “normative” views, ie the view that all the danger is on the right, then one is “branded” a racist and either exiled to the fringes of respectable society or castigated publicly.


One of the offenders is in the view of CAEF, the Canada Anti-Hate Network which on the evening of the US election sent out a blast with the following message (excerpt included):


“We have all the same elements here -- would-be demagogues, neo-Nazis in politics, far-right media outlets peddling propaganda, organized hate groups, and many hundreds of thousands of hate group sympathizers and Canadian Trump supporters.”


So, note that if you are a Conservative, not a Biden supporter, you have been labelled a neo-Nazi, a peddler of propaganda, likely a member of a hate group or a sympathizer, because you supported Trump. Wow!


On November 10th, the so-called anti-hate organization which is now seriously spewing hatred, sent the following message:


“Canadian Trump supporters believe Biden fraudulently stole the election. We need to be vigilant for when their denial turns to rage.

Trump signs and MAGA hats continue to be a part of anti-lockdown, anti-intelligence demonstrations in Canada. We’re concerned about the possibility of Trump mobilizing his supporters to protest against the election results, and Canada’s idiot catchments like The Line morphing into explicitly anti-democracy, pro-Trump bodies.”


There are no statements in the noxious message about what has actually happened, what policies or actions make Trump the vanguard for neo-Nazism nor how the connection can be justified to call Canadians who support the policies of a president that lowered unemployment for Black Americans to the lowest levels ever, who raised the average income for America overall, who funded to the highest levels ever Black colleges and over 800 opportunity zones across marginalized communities, expanded peace in the Middle East, stood up to the tyrants of Iran and China, recognized Israel’s legal rights and eliminated funding to terrorists who rewarded murderers of Jews. But, the CAHN would have you hate Trump, his administration and all of his achievements.


CAEF is truly non-partisan but can the same be said for CAHN which is soliciting donations while spewing its lies about average Canadians who support a conservative agenda, not a “progressive” leftist one?

Dialogue with an Anti-Israel IHRA Opponent


Jews and Allies need be armed to the diatribe presented by opponents of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and its illustrative examples, particularly those examples that show anti-Zionism IS antisemitism. We should not be on the defensive when standing up for Israel. We need to counter antisemitism by naming the Jew Haters, obstructing their messages, and standing up for Israel. We must begin to stand for #EndJewHatred.


Irving Weisdorf, our immediate Past President, is also the Founder & President of The Mozuud Freedom Foundation. On the occasion of Remembrance Day, he sent out a message to the members of Mozuud, that extolled Freedom of Speech as the cornerstone freedom of democratic nations like Canada.


Within a few hours, he received a response from Ms. Samira Kanji, President of the Noor Cultural Centre, with whom Irving had corresponded once before. This correspondence is shared here to contribute to our understanding about supporting IHRA and freedom of speech while shutting down the BDS movement with its lies and Jew hatred.


“Dear Mr. Weisdorf,


I'm always struck by the inconsistency between your plaint/lament about obstructions to freedom of speech and your assumed tolerance for the same when it comes to speech critical of Israel - assuming you are against Israeli Apartheid Week debates, and support the IHRA definition of antisemitism per the illustrative examples? Please let me know if I'm wrong.”


Sincerely, Samira Kanji


The not-so-veiled attack, or if you prefer, “question” about inconsistency re freedom of speech was not surprising, because there was and still is a lot of opposition to the IHRA definition of Antisemitism that was recently adopted by the Ontario Government. Detractors, many of whom advocate openly or otherwise for the destruction of the only Jewish state in the world (and interestingly do not advocate for the destruction of any other state, including the many Muslim truly apartheid states) make the argument that the acceptance of the IHRA definition will make it unlawful to criticize Israel. That is not so. Here is Irving’s reply:


“Dear Ms. Kanji,


Israel Apartheid Week has never encouraged discussion or debate, though it was admitted onto the university campuses under the guise of doing so. This might lead one to conclude that it was never intended to promote discussion. Sadly, it is apparent today that IAW was likely always intended to be pure propaganda, to cleverly try to delegitimize Israel by comparing it to Apartheid South Africa, to which Israel bears no resemblance whatsoever. Clearly you either know very little about South Africa in apartheid time, and/or have never been to Israel or read much about Israel, because if you had, assuming your question is an honest one, you would know better than to pose it.


There are Arabs in every walk of life, fully integrated in Israel – for instance, Salim Joubran who was a justice of the Israeli Supreme Court for 13 years until his retirement in 2017. There are Arab Israeli doctors, like Khitam Hussein who heads the Covid Outbreak Response team at Rambam hospital in Haifa. She was educated together with Jewish Israeli doctors – no apartheid either in the educational system or the medical system, or the judicial system.


So either your email below is disingenuous, which would disappoint me greatly, or you are simply poorly informed. I would be happy to discuss these things with you in person if you are so inclined. With that in mind, I am copying some people at CAEF, the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation, who might be interested in this exchange and be willing to explain to you how the IHRA definition poses no danger to your right to criticize Israel.”


Sincerely, Irving


This answer did not satisfy Ms. Kanji. She quickly replied with links to some vile articles about Israel that supported her “thesis” that Israel was an Apartheid state akin to South Africa. The links are included below if you wish to read them. One is even from an article in Ha’aretz. (There sadly seems to be a small but growing segment of Jewish anti-Zionists in the “DEMONIZE ISRAEL” industry, who are willing to repeat all sorts of libels against Israel for self-aggrandizement and to be accepted by the Diversity Coalition of the Left. Here is Ms. Kanji’s reply:


“Dear Mr Weisdorf,

Thank you for responding. I don't consider myself ignorant on the broad strokes of the situation in Israel/Palestine, being guided by the fact that numerous respected personages such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, as well as experts, Jewish and Israeli included, have described what obtains in Israel as meeting the legal definition of apartheid, for ex:


https://www.yesh-din.org/en/the-occupation-of-the-west-bank-and-the-crime-of-apartheid-legal-opinion/

https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-defining-israeli-apartheid-1.5298127;

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/israel/palestine


As for the claim that Israel Apartheid Week has never encouraged discussion or debate, as far as I'm aware, the program models typical conferences aiming to inform and advocate for a held position. I am sure pro-Israel events do the same. Consistent standards on freedom of speech would allow all sides' arguments to be aired in the "marketplace of ideas" even if not, for practical reasons, within the event itself.”


Sincerely, Samira


Irving read the links and was astounded by some of the claims. It seems that Israel’s enemies think that setting up an NGO in Israel and giving the NGO a Hebrew name will give it an aura of legitimacy. If you go to the website of Yesh Din, you will find that it is graphically professional and impressive. Clearly money is flowing into that organization – most of it from the European Union where anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are sadly still rife. However, what poses as a “legal opinion” is anything but. Irving sent one last reply:


“Dear Ms. Kanji,


I think it’s clear from the links you attached what your position is, and while I can provide you with links that take a diametrically opposite position, I doubt that would serve any purpose. The articles you have referred me to suggest primarily that the 53-year-old propaganda campaign to win the wars that the Arab armies lost in 1948 and 1967 is well-funded, well-staffed and very clever -- twisting words, events, and situations to suit the goal of your arguments – namely, the delegitimization and destruction of the Jewish state through demonization.


Of course, the “West Bank” and Gaza are made to appear the territory you desire to liberate -- for a people never mentioned in history, that miraculously emerged on the world stage in 1967. But then explain to me: what territory was the PLO founded to liberate in 1964, three years before the illegal Jordanian occupation in Judaea and Samaria ended. That is my first request of you, if I may be so bold. What did Yasser Arafat want to liberate in 1964? Please be honest.


Second, I note that you referred me to an article about Gaza and the misery of the daily life of its inhabitants, all blamed on Israel. But Gaza was unilaterally handed over to the Palestinian Arabs and its Palestinian Authority in 2005. Full control! Any article that blames Israel for any problem in Gaza today needs to take a hard look at events since 2005, and re-consider where the fault lies! These all are propaganda pieces. You know it and I know it.


I was very impressed with Yesh Din’s website and was also impressed by the supporting bodies. But not by the article you advised me to read. Curiously it had no author. A legal opinion generally has an author. Second, it was not a legal opinion at all, but a group of suppositions and conclusions based on no law or legal precedent. If you would like a legal opinion to the contrary, I suggest you might refer to Dr. Jacque Gauthier, an international law expert, who has focused on the issue of Jerusalem, Judaea and Samaria.


The real issue on which we disagree is whether Israel has a valid legal claim to the “West Bank”. In truth, I have never seen in writing a legal claim to a state in this territory, made on behalf of Palestinian Arabs. Until 1973 or at least until 1967, they were happy to be Jordanians. Never objected! There is a question as to why this area would be given to them as another state when they in fact have a much larger state across the Jordan where their cousins live, in 73% of the rest of what was Ottoman Palestine. Jordan is the only “Palestinian” state that has ever existed in human history.


Perhaps you and I could have a genuine discussion about rival claims. I think Israel would win the argument because the Mandate for Palestine became International law at San Remo. And the U.N. assumed the League of Nation’s responsibilities when it superseded the League.


But you and I know that that is not what you are after, either by way of IAW or BDS or any other segment of the propaganda campaign. Is it? I wish I were mistaken.


However, we have gone a little off topic, haven’t we? The IHRA definition poses no threat to your freedom to criticize Israel honestly – criticism aimed not at destroying it but making it a better place for all its citizens. I think you should welcome it. And I welcome any interaction you might like in that regard. Perhaps you could tell me, to begin with, what the people of Gaza really want and why they have not focused on turning Gaza into the Paris of the Middle East (instead of the Beirut of Palestine).


Sincerely, Irving


I hope you have found this exchange of emails interesting. It is clear that the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, that includes accusations whose goal is to demonize, delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state, is of great concern to Israel haters. Ms. Kanji who holds an important position in the Noor Cultural Centre and I’m sure does many good things. However their defense of and support for Israel Apartheid Week and the BDS movement suggests there is more to their story and their objectives. The delegitimization of Israel seems to be on their agenda. And the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism seems to be causing them concern.


In March 2020, CAEF put York University and four other Canadian universities on notice that Israel Apartheid Week and some of their classroom content is anti-Semitic. CAEF is raising funds to pursue legal remedies against universities that continue to propagate anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism. Please help us in this endeavour. Make a donation to help us “End Jew Hatred” in the Canadian Jewish community!


Andria Spindel, Executive Director, CAEF

Is Free Speech Responsible Speech?


The article above points out the importance of supporting free speech and defending IHRA which does not limit speech, but does demand truth, fairness and tolerance to quell antisemitism that masquerades as antiZionism. Below is an article by our regular contributor, Dogan Akman. The opinion expressed is for your consideration. Please feel free to send comments to andria@caef.ca

Prime Minister Trudeau’s Take on Freedom of Speech


By Doğan D. Akman*


Of late, our Prime Minister has been aggressively taken to task for putting limits on freedom of speech in the context of the recent decapitation of a French school teacher who showed his pupils caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. This murder is a follow up to the murders which were committed at Charlie Hebdo, the original publisher of the Muhammad caricatures in January 2015.


The position of the Prime Minister


Putting aside the barbarity of the crime which the Prime Minister condemned, he stated that free speech is not without limits and should not “arbitrarily and needlessly hurt” certain communities. He said: “We owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily and unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet.”


The Prime Minister further pleaded for a careful use of free speech and went on to say ”In a pluralist, diverse and respectful society like ours, we owe it to ourselves to be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions on others, particularly these communities and populations who still experience a great deal of discrimination.” (Robert Spencer, Canada: Trudeau answers question about Muhammad cartoons by saying ‘freedom of expression is not without limits” Jihad Watch, www.jihadwatch.org › 2020/10 › canada-trudeau-answ...)

I submit that he is dead right.


Read more

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